Sunday, July 9, 2017

Germany – The Adventure of the Last Two Days (Part 1) Kassel to Bremen

View from Kassel's Hercules monument

Did you know that it costs a Euro to use the WC/toilette/bathroom in a train station? Well, anyway…
My last couple of days in Germany was quite an adventure due to unforeseen circumstances. What should have been an uneventful train ride from Kassel to Bremen turned out to be otherwise. Taking the taxi from my friend Bernadette’s house, it was easy enough to find the correct platform from the eingang (entrance), the correct train number, and the correct seat (platz) reservation on the Deutch Bahn ICE train (an express train) because the bahnhof (train station) in Kassel was small enough. Hauptbahnhofs or Grand Central Stations were more confusing for me because of numerous platforms and floors. Next, the train was delayed and instead of arriving at the original platform in front of me, it arrived at the one behind me. Fortunately I had been talking to a woman minutes before, who happened to work for Deutsch Bahn, who told me about the change. When we got going, sometime in the middle of the trip, there was an announcement that we would be getting off at Hannover Hauptbahnhof to transfer to a regional train which has more stops. Initially, we were informed that it would be the regional train on track 11, but as we were about to get off, another announcement in German said we would be taking the train from track 12 instead. Fortunately, some Germans nearby translated to announcement for me, and I told one of them that I would be following her and her kids. However, they stopped by a snack shop to buy some food. Being in unfamiliar situations and the thought of being lost especially in a foreign country gives me high anxiety. I told my friend Emy about that before I left for Germany and that my life was in her hands when I got there.
Beer tasting near Kassel
I then proceeded to track 12, looked at the posted schedule, and it turned out that the train that was waiting at the track was the one I was supposed to take. I entered it and asked a gentleman if I was on the right train and he said that I was. However, I didn’t have a seat reservation on this one even though I had a reservation on the original train. The same gentleman told me that reserved seats were indicated by an LED sign just above the seat. Fortunately, the immediate area I was in had a vacant one.

When we arrived in Bremen Hauptbahnhof, I looked for the ausgang (exit) towards the front of the building and started looking for the taxi stand. I found a taxi easily and told the driver I wanted to go to the Holiday Inn Express near Bremen Flughafen (airport). He said “no problem”. A few short miles later, I arrived at my destination for the day. I checked in and explored the area so I could easily find my way to the airport the next day. It was only about a block away by U.S. standards. I found a Chinese food restaurant, ate a light dinner, then found myself buying an apple strudel in McDonalds which I took back to the hotel and ate it in my room with yet another mug of beer which the bartender downstairs allowed me to take. And thus ended the first day.

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